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Excerpted from Living, Loving and Learning by Leo Buscaglia. Copyright © 1982 by Leo Buscaglia. Excerpted by permission of Fawcett, a division of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 


"But I have yet to find a class from elementary school right on up through graduate school on, for instance, 'Who am I?, 1A.'"

Leo Buscaglia, Living, Loving and Learning, Part 2

Two years later I was teaching such a class. I had twenty students. I now have 200 students with a waiting list of 600. The last time we opened the class, it was full within the first twenty minutes of the registration period. It shows you what kind of enthusiasm and excitement there is for a class in love.

It always amazes me the every time the Educational Policyís Commission meets to decide the goals of American education, the first goal is always self-realization or self-actualization. But I have yet to find a class from elementary school right on up through graduate school on, for instance, "Who am I?, 1A;" or, "What Am I Here For?, 1A;" or "What Is My Responsibility to Man, 1A;" or, if you will, "Love, 1A." As far as I know, we are the only school in the country, and possibly the world, which has a listing called, "Love, 1A," and I am the only professor crazy enough to teach it.

I donít teach this class. I learn in it. We get together on a great big rug and sit down and rap for two hours. It usually goes on into the night but we get involved for at least the formal two hours and share our knowledge, the thesis being that love is learned. Psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists have told us for years that love is learned. It isnít something that just happens spontaneously. I think we believe it is, and thatís why we have so many hangups when it comes to human relationships. Yet, who teaches us how to love? For one, the society in which we live, and that certainly varies. Our parents have taught us how to love. They are our first teachers, but they arenít always the best teachers. We may expect our parents to be perfect. Children always grow up expecting their parents to be perfect and then are very disappointed and disillusioned and really angered when they find out that these poor human beings are not.

Maybe the point of arriving at adulthood is facing these two people, this man and this woman, and seeing them as ordinary human beings like ourselves, with hangups, with misconceptions, with tenderness, with joy, with sorrow, and with tears, accepting that they are just human beings. And the big thing is that if we have learned love from these people and from this society, we can unlearn it and relearn it; therefore, there is tremendous hope.

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